Shredded honey garlic chicken

Delicious meal to make in a slow cooker or Instant Pot!

As a kid, my favourite item on takeout Chinese food menus was the little honey garlic spareribs. Salty, sweet and meaty, they were both exotic yet familiar in that my mom introduced soya sauce into our kitchen quite early on. That honey-garlic combination is still a favourite of mine, and was the inspiration for this delicious dish. I like to cook the chicken in my Instant Pot or pressure cooker, but you can make this in a slow cooker as well – just follow the last two steps to drain off excess liquid once the chicken is cooked and add in the sauce so it stays thick and sticky. Rice and vegetables are great sides with this chicken; for something extra-flavourful, check out this great tropical salad option. Note that leftover shredded chicken freezes beautifully (so consider making a double batch)!



  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) canola or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) sesame oil
  • 6 – 8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • juice of 1 orange (approximately 4 tablespoons/60 mL)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) honey
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) Chinese five spice powder or powdered ginger
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) water


  • 6 tablespoons (90 mL) honey
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 tablespoons (90 mL) water, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (22 mL) soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) Sriracha (optional but delicious)
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) cornstarch

Optional garnishes: toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onions


  • If using Instant Pot, set it to sauté; add oils and let heat for 1 minute. Add chicken and brown in oil for 3 minutes, turning once. Add orange juice, honey, brown sugar, five spice, soy sauce and water. Put lid on pot and lock in place, with vent closed.
  • Press Poultry button and let cook (the cycle should take 15 minutes).
  • If using pressure cooker, sear chicken in oils then add juice, honey, brown sugar, five spice, soy sauce and water. Put lid on pot securely and cook under pressure over medium heat for 15 minutes.
  • If using slow cooker, sear chicken in oils in a large frying pan then add browned chicken to cooker along with juice, honey, brown sugar, five spice, soy sauce and water. Cover and cook on low for 4 – 6 hours until tender.
  • While chicken cooks, make honey garlic sauce by putting honey, garlic, 1/4 cup (60 mL) of the water, soy sauce and Sriracha, if using, in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Combine cornstarch with remaining 2 tablespoons of water and add to honey garlic mixture; increase heat to bring to a boil and cook for 1 – 2 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • When poultry cycle is finished, depressurize pot, remove lid and transfer chicken to a clean plate. Drain off cooking liquid, reserving 1/2 cup (25 mL) to add back with chicken.
  • Shred chicken using two forks and return to pot with reserved 1/2 cup (125 mL) of cooking liquid and the honey-garlic sauce. Press the Instant Pot’s sauté button and reheat, stirring, for 1 – 2 minutes until hot (or reheat in pressure cooker/slow cooker).
  • Serve over rice, garnished as desired, with tropical salad or stir fried vegetables (broccoli and carrots are a nice combination) on the side.

Serves 4.


Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

4 thoughts

  1. I just got an Instant Pot a week ago and converted my Korean-spiced pulled chicken to it — amazing the amount of time saved! I will be trying your Chinese flavoured chicken next! Thanks for sharing.

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